The California legislature has passed SB 350, the Clean Energy and Pollution Reduction Act of 2015. The bill calls for energy efficiency in buildings to increase by 50 percent and for 50 percent of the state utilities’ power to come from renewable energy by 2030.
The provision to cut petroleum use in California by 50 percent by 2030 was removed from the bill before it was passed, the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) reports.
The state has been raising its renewable portfolio standard (RPS) since enacting the nation’s first law requiring energy companies to buy 20 percent of their power from renewable sources 15 year ago, according to documents on the California Climate Leadership website. Before this mandate, renewable energy comprised less than 8 percent of the overall electrical mix in the state, but within five years, most energy companies were close to, or had purchased under contract, enough power to meet or exceed the 20 percent RPS. In 2011, California Governor Edmund Brown raised the ante to 33 percent.
With the passage of SB 350, the state’s RPS will need to reach 40 percent by 2024, 45 percent by 2027 and 50 percent by 2030, the Union of Concerned Scientists reports.
According to EDF analyses, to reach a 50 percent RPS, state utilities will have to increase their support of and promote the increased use of demand-side resources, such as rooftop solar and energy storage, as well as demand-response technologies like programmable thermostats.
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